(Book: I Don’t Have Enough FAITH to Be an ATHEIST, by Geisler and Turek, chapter 12.)
According to what Geisler and Turek would have us believe, there are only 4 possibilities if the Resurrection is not true:
- It’s a legend (like Zeus and Thor and so on).
- It’s a deliberate lie.
- It’s an embellishment (meaning an obviously and ludicrously extravagant embellishment).
- It’s a mistake.
In each case, the possibilities are tightly constrained so as to make it harder for the Gospel accounts to match them. When Geisler and Turek refer to legends, for instance, they’re only speaking of certain types of legend, with certain specific characteristics that aren’t going to fit. Other types of legends, such as urban legends, are not discussed at all. They’re a little too close to the Gospel history, and the apologetic goal here is to set up some easily-knocked-down straw men so that Geisler and Turek can claim to have eliminated all the alternatives, leaving the skeptic with no way out.
In this part of Chapter 12, Geisler and Turek begin considering the last of these possibilities, hoping that once they’ve dealt with this one, they’re done.
[W]e know beyond a reasonable doubt that the New Testament writers accurately recorded what they saw. Does this mean that all of the events of the New Testament are true? Not necessarily. The skeptic still has one last out.
The last possible out for the skeptic is that the New Testament writers were deceived. In other words, perhaps the New Testament writers simply were wrong about what they thought they saw.
I’m a skeptic, and I’m not looking for any particular “out.” I’m shaking my head over why Geisler and Turek would suppose that such contrived straw men would suffice to eliminate all the other possibilities besides the one they want. But then again, they’re not really writing for skeptics, they’re writing to assuage the doubts of believers (!) and to reassure them that they’re doing the right thing by trusting what men tell them about Jesus.